“The laity must take up the renewal of the temporal order as their own special obligation. Led by the light of the Gospel and the mind of the Church and motivated by Christian charity, they must act directly and in a definite way in the temporal sphere.”—Apostolicam Actuositatem, No. 7
America needs leaders. Desperately.It needs leaders who understand the dignity of the human person, the sanctity of life, and role of faith in shaping the social order.It also needs leaders who understand both natural law and divine law, who have been schooled in the virtues, and formed in the truth. And it needs leaders with practical competence who are capable of making the hard choices, doing the right thing, and sacrificing themselves for the good of others and the nation. It doesn’t, however, just need those leaders in Washington. It needs them everywhere, in every walk of life, transforming both Church and culture as doctors and lawyers, journalists and corporate executives, artists and academics. That is the unique vocation of the laity: to transform the social order from within, to be salt and light and leaven in the world.
Through the Center for Leadership, Franciscan University of Steubenville is committed to raising up a new generation of Catholic leaders who can do just that, recognizing as its former president, Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, once asked, “If Franciscan University doesn’t produce leaders for tomorrow, who will?”Founded in 2011, the center seeks to equip a select group of Franciscan undergraduate students for the unique challenges of leadership in the 21st century. Drawing from a broad cross-section of academic majors, the program offers formation in the principles of effective leadership, the virtues, Catholic social teaching, the philosophy of the human person, and America’s founding principles. It also offers practical training in the skills necessary for exercising life-long Christian leadership in the world.
The Center for Leadership does that through a combination of study, mentoring relationships, and real world experience. Beginning their freshman year, students come together weekly for guided discussions based on texts critical to understanding and living the lay vocation. They also are required to step out of the classroom and exercise leadership on campus through becoming involved in at least one co-curricular activity of their choosing (student clubs, household life, campus ministry, missions, etc.).Throughout their four years in the program, students participate in special events, such as a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with national leaders and exclusive dinners with distinguished speakers who come to campus to address the University community. They also work closely with their academic advisor and Center for Leadership staff to chart out their studies and co-curricular activities in the way that best serves their academic and career goals. During their junior and senior years, they’ll be connected with distinguished Franciscan friends and alumni already exercising leadership in the Church and culture. Through these mentoring relationships, students will receive guidance, insight, and possible opportunities for internships in their field of interest.The flexible schedule allows students to study abroad for a semester at the University’s campus in Gaming, Austria.Students participating in the four-year program receive a leadership scholarship* each year to help offset the cost of their tuition and expenses.*Except those already receiving full-tuition scholarships or benefits.
During their senior year in high school, a select group of students are invited to participate in the program for the fall semester of their freshman year. Invitees are selected based upon their high school achievements and leadership potential. Similar criteria are also used to evaluate those freshmen who apply for the program’s spring section. Students meeting the program’s requirements and standards are welcome to participate throughout their time at Franciscan.
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